Budgets can be tight for buyers of large SUVs, and that's an issue, because these vehicles will, by their very nature, cost quite a lot to run; they're typically not as economical as smaller vehicles and their servicing costs tend to be higher.
However, you can claw some of that money back by buying used; depreciation means a pre-owned example will cost a lot less than the same car would have cost you new.
That doesn’t mean you’ll end up with something old and tired, though. Many models on this list still have some of the manufacturer’s warranty left and a lot of them haven’t covered many miles, so they will ostensibly feel like new cars.
So, take a look at our top 10 list of the best large SUVs that you can currently find on the second-hand market, along with the one you should avoid at all costs.
10. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Seven-seat large SUVs are definitely in demand, especially ones sporting a pukka premium badge, so the Land Rover Discovery Sport has become a regular sight outside the very poshest school drop-off points. Light steering makes it easy to park, while a commanding view of that gives you the confidence to thread it through tight town traffic.
Land Rover Discovery Sport (cont.)
9. Hyundai Santa Fe
One thing you can’t accuse the Hyundai Santa Fe of being is stingy on equipment. Even entry-level Premium cars include every feature you could possibly want. You could moan that the 2.2-litre diesel engine is a little on the noisy side, but it has plenty of torque to get this big SUV moving, even when it's loaded with seven passengers.
Hyundai Santa Fe (cont.)
8. Honda CR-V
The Honda CR-V will win no prizes for glamour or excitement, but it is very practical for a family of five, hugely economical when equipped with the 1.6-litre diesel engine and easy to drive. What’s more, the latest CR-V has wilted values of the previous version to the point that you can get a 2018 version with minimal miles well within our budget.
Honda CR-V (cont.)
7. Kia Sorento
Just like the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Kia Sorento is a vast SUV that can be had with seven-seats. It edges ahead of the Santa Fe in our list because it has the longer of the two warranties, therefore offering added peace of mind. Mid-range KX-2 is the one to go for; it gives you a rear-view camera, sat-nav, leather trim and heated front seats. It’s not thrilling to drive, but it is comfortable and refined.
Kia Sorento (cont.)
6. BMW X3
This generation of X3 was a vast improvement on the original, with a much nicer interior that befits a luxury vehicle. Mid-range SE models got a better level of standard equipment and the revised 2.0 diesel engine that was introduced in 2014 was rather refined and exceptionally economical.
BMW X3 (cont.)
5. Mazda CX-5
The current Mazda CX-5 has plenty of room for five to travel in comfort, plus there's little wind or road noise to distract you. There's a 2.0-litre petrol if you need it, but we’d suggest going for the 148bhp 2.2-litre diesel, because it's much more flexible. The handling is nice and sharp for such a tall car and the steering is well weighted to inspire confidence.
Mazda CX-5 (cont.)
4. Volkswagen Tiguan
Even though it hasn't topped this list, the Volkswagen Tiguan is a great used buy because it's a very comfortable, hugely spacious and ultra-refined large SUV. Match examples have all the equipment you’ll need, with front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, tri-zone climate control, sat-nav and a rear-view camera.
Volkswagen Tiguan (cont.)
3. Skoda Kodiaq
Consummate all-rounders like the Kodiaq may not stand out compared with the distinctive and more practical Peugeot 5008, but that doesn't make them a bad buy. High spec versions are pricey when new, but you can get a sizeable discount on nearly new examples (such as our one here) that make them much better value for money, which only adds to the appeal of this likeable used Skoda.
Skoda Kodiaq (cont.)
2. Audi Q5
It may be one of the pricier machines on this list, but there's still plenty of value for money in a used version of the current Audi Q5. It has similar prestige to the BMW X3 mentioned earlier, but the Q5 has more up-to-date technology; its 2.0 diesel is smoother, plus the interior in this Audi is a noticeable step above what's offered in the BMW.
Audi Q5 (cont.)
1. Volvo XC60
Safety is often one of the main concerns of large SUV buyers, and few cars are safer than the XC60; not does it score highly for the crash protection it offers, but also for its safety technology, which helps prevents accidents occurring in the first place. All models are well equipped, but R-Design models are the best to drive with a decent ride to handling balance.
Volvo XC60 (cont.)
And the large SUV to avoid…
Old-fashioned SUV with separate chassis, chunky tyres and locking differentials like the Shogun aren't as popular with the mainstream due to lesser refinement compared with rivals. So, unless you work in the emergency services and need a reliable rig that'll take you off the beaten track, there’s little sense in buying one.
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